updated 03:58 pm EDT, Tue May 22, 2012
NPD report finds kids spend five hours a week on mobile devices
New numbers out from market research company NPD Group suggest the average mobile device holds 12 apps targeted at kids. The payoff from the popularity of kid-friendly apps is uncertain, though, as NPD estimates that nearly nine out of 10 of those apps are acquired for free. In news that could prove troubling for traditional game-console makers Nintendo and Sony, the report finds that gaming on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, is a particularly popular activity among children.
The numbers come from an online survey fielded from March 6 to March 21 of this year. NPD surveyed 2,502 adult mobile-device owners with children aged two to 14, finding that kid-friendly apps were an attractive option for these users and that the availability of educational apps played a significant role in determining the likelihood of a mobile device purchase.
The survey found that gaming apps were the most popular type of app used by children, followed by music-listening apps and picture-taking utilities. Eighty-seven percent of boys were likely to use the devices for gaming, versus 80 percent of girls. According to the report, children spend about an hour per session with mobile devices, using them an average of five days per week.
Among respondents who didn't let their children use their mobile devices, device durability and availability of educational apps were the primary drivers of their decision.
Previous numbers from NPD have demonstrated the growing importance of mobile devices in the electronics sector, as the research firm expects tablet shipments to grow to about 5.3 times its current size by 2017 and sees Android achieving a dominant position among mobile operating systems. Other studies by NPD indicate that digital media account for a growing proportion of child spending, with 21 cents of every entertainment dollar spent by children aged two to 14 going toward digital purchases.